Minecraft fans could be designing Australia's next national park

Photo: Getty Images/ Miles Willis

The South Australian government is turning to Minecraft fans to dream up the vision for Australia’s next national park.

The joint venture by Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources will invite young gamers from the Adelaide Hills area to use the block-building game to design their perfect national park.

$10.4 million will be allotted to bringing the winning student’s Minecraft creation to life.

Georgia Gowing, who came up with the innovative project, says she was inspired by a Youtube series, Far Lands or Bust! where the user walks across the Minecraft lands to reach the Far Lands.

“It made me think of different uses for the game and I wondered whether we could get children to use their online skills to show us what they wanted in the real world,” she said.

Open to students from fourth to seventh grade, entrants will have free reign over the Swedish ‘sandbox’ game provided they use the basic version of the game without any modifications to keep it “fair and creative”.

We’re hoping for children to tell us the sort of things that would make them want to spend time in real national parks. We’re also hoping that they’ll think creatively and think of something different. Adults might think, “You couldn’t do that in a national park,” but children don’t have those limitations. The only criteria are that whatever they design needs to be sustainable, environmentally appropriate and something that we can create – or near enough to – in the real world.

The creative project is part of a wider trend where students are turning to new ways of learning in the classroom.

“It’s early days yet, but I think there is a good chance that some teachers will want to devote lesson time to the project, especially if the students are enthusiastic about taking part,” Gowing said.

The competition will be open until 12 June.

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